Friday, March 18, 2016

White Easter….

The family will soon be "one, big, happy" group here at Geilo for the next week-putting the everyday, routine behind us for a while and reconnecting.  Easter in Norway stretches from the Friday before Palm Sunday to Easter Monday.  It's a tradition in this family (and about more than half of norwegians) to spend it in the mountains, in the snow, on skis (x-country/slalom/telemark) or snowboard. No matter that the slopes are hard as ice in the early part of the day, and slushy as the sun beats down and melts the icy snow, ski we must!  
I plan to paint.  
Not very popular a decision, but to each their own, I say. I will ski when I feel like it, and I will do other things that appeal to me. I'm hoping to shed the guilt and ignore the side-way glances with raised eyebrows. I wasn't born with skis on, didn't grow up with this tradition, and miss the flowers and birds down along the coastline, where the temperatures are at least 10 degrees warmer-maybe more. 
Back to the painting…..I have a largish painting that I began painting over last year, and it is FAR from finished. I consider the painting that I had on it before an excellent "underpainting".  Also have several smaller canvases that I can play around on that will keep me entertained for the duration. Beside cooking and reading, I figure this will make my Easter enjoyable.  
I have attached a selection of some of the last year's work- it's starting to pile up into a nice collection that I will exhibit a couple of times this coming year.  Hope your Easter is just as you want it to be.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Revisiting Older Work

So, after a long break for Christmas and the New Year's holiday, it felt so good to get back to work in the studio.  Painting, thinking about painting, reading about artists and other creative soul-mates is in my DNA.  Before we left for the mountains in December, I purchased 5 yards of canvas and stretchers, so it would be waiting there for me on my return.  Always good to have some menial labor to start the year off with while mentally working out what will go on those shiny new canvases. Pulling, stretching, stapling, priming…..lots of mental work going on there.  One of the most exciting feelings is when you can splash on those first drops of color on that blinding white primed surface, and dive in.
Sometimes I have a plan, sometimes, not. Often, there is left over paint on my palate, and I just water it down and drip it/brush it/scrape it on in some random movement, following my mood. That is BLISS for a day.  Then, comes the part where you want to pull your hair out and scream "I can't leave it like this!!!"  Granted, it's FRESH and AIRY and BRIGHT….. and I wish I had the guts to leave it and say "I love it this way, and it's DONE!"   Then my artistic integrity comes into play and tells me that I am capable of SO MUCH MORE……
That's when I have to put those fresh new creations aside and go look at some of the previous work and revisit those processes.  Then, go and revisit some artists (physically and on paper) that fire me up and cause me to see things that I  may have forgotten, and inspire me to reach further than I ever have.  I'm amazed that after all these years, I have paintings in the depths that I let escape just by showing up and challenging myself every day.
Older works that I haven't been totally happy with, will suddenly show me where I have gone wrong, and beg me to change this or that.  As my painting style slowly evolves, I see what I didn't see before, and my looser style will spill over onto the older painting, changing it and bringing it into 2016.  Great feeling.  Happy New Year to us all, and may your creative life flourish.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Will Summer Ever Come????

It's now the 13th of June, and I am just wondering…..has summer decided to pass us by? It's been max. 14 degrees C. these past 2 months, and I haven't packed out my summer clothes from storage yet. No sandals, no painted toe nails, just barely a gin & tonic here and there to keep up appearances.  Oh well, it makes for time in the studio without feeling that you have missed some precious sun rays.  The past month has been extremely productive.  Taking a stand about creating a series of work on the photos taken up on the hiking trail behind our home, and other stone fences and mountainous passes on the west coast of Norway, I have found a world of possibilities in those photos. Somehow, I missed the point in what to do with these at the time that I took them.  Yes, they were beautiful and had colors and textures and forms that mesmerized me, but….do I take them for face value, or what?
A series….I thought. First the old (ancient) steps.  The stone formations that crashed down mountainsides and landed just by roads and beaches. Then the mosses that grow on the rocks, where water runs down the mountain side and the sounds and smells of the forest take you away from the city for a little while.  Repetitive forms, rearranged and re-colored to suit my mood.  Suddenly I had a whole new project to work with.  Love it when those brain cells grasp on to something and give me ideas for the next 6 months to work with.  I look forward to seeing the series unfold. Hoping others enjoy it afterwards…...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

LONG DAYS…..more time for ART

LONG DAYS….more time for ART.
I have been working as much as I can, considering that May, in Norway, has an over abundance religious holidays and Independence Day (May 17th) that long weekends are the norm. Cramming 5 days of painting into 3 has been an exercise in concentration and endurance. I have worked through lunch breaks, have not remembered to make tea or coffee, have forgotten to consider what's for dinner.
After considering what I feel makes me want to stand in front of a painting for more than 2 minutes, I seem to have dragged up from my sub conscience a small bit of realization.   Drawing has been a large part of my artistic life, from small doodles to more finished work. However, when painting, I have largely left drawing out. Only some small lines for guidance..
Suddenly, about a month ago, I took a medium sized round brush and drew, in black, the outlines of some ancient steps that I had photographed a couple of years ago.  The canvas already had splashes of color, leftovers from previous work.  I decided to do a series-varying some of the shapes, and color schemes, and sizes of canvas, but basically working at using the drawing as an integrated part of the whole. No covering up the contours; actually using many colors for the drawings, and keeping to a limited palette.
One thing lead to another, and I was enjoying this new (for me) rediscovery. It has lead to many fun paintings, and color schemes that challenge me in their simplicity. I will continue nature paintings from my photographs, although using the photos as a jumping off point only. Luckily, with the forest and mountains only a 5 minute hike away, and the sea right under my feet, the sites and smells and lights and feelings are revisited regularly and kept fresh in the front of my mind. New inspiration just keeps popping my way and I don't know where it comes from, but just when I think I can't possibly come up with anything new to paint..

Monday, April 27, 2015

Spring in Scandinavia !!!

I nearly fainted when I saw the date of the last blog article !!  How could that possibly be? I guess I took some time off after the exhibit, and got my head back together. After that was back in one piece, I started painting again, but somehow I needed more time this time to find myself and my voice. I had a wonderful trip to Barcelona, Spain in October, and the impulses from that trip gave me even more permission to loosen up and see/paint/draw/mess around creatively even more than I have before.  Color wise, I feel that purer colors, stronger contrasts, and smarter blending of fewer colors gives a more harmonious whole. Also, I keep remembering a comment that was made almost 20 years ago at one of my previous studios by a mentor of mine…."you should paint more like you draw".  I wasn't experienced enough at that time to see how to do that, but it is still popping up often when I am frustrated, and I feel that my real self wants to get out, but can't find the exit.  Even after a another year of art school and 16 years of studio experience, I still struggle to find the "flow" I desire. Now that it is nearly May (!!!) I am in a good place with the latest work, and something tells me that the future is starting to open up to a type of painting that incorporates my movements and a clearer use of color, combined with my own observations/experiences of nature.  Nature gives and gives to us, and we need to take the time to see.  Our time on this planet is pretty short, and taking the time to SEE and process the impulses from a hike, digging in the dirt, listening to a bird's song and then, for me, taking these impulses and interpreting them onto a canvas in a visual harmony….makes life worth living. Hopefully, it gives back to others a sense of experiencing this on a daily basis when they see a painting.  The little pause that a work of art can give you in your daily life, can lift you up and give you the energy to trudge on…..

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

This weather….it's just unbelievable . So warm and sunny and dry. It's more than Indian summer…it's just summer, never-ending.  Still uncomfortable to sleep with even a super thin down comforter….the kind that's called "sommer dyne" in norwegian.  The dog is feeling it too…..just doesn't want to go on long walks, and I can't seem to dress cool enough.
There have been hundreds of people on Lille Øvregt. this past weekend. Can't say that I blame them for not really having a visit to an art gallery at the top of their list of things to do, what with the hiking possibilities available in this city.  Nevertheless, very happy with those who did stop in, and for all the wonderful conversations and comments about the work hanging there now.  2 paintings sold this weekend lifted me out of the doldrums, and many more who were seriously interested in several others will be coming back to me before I close up the 28th.
Go to an art exhibit in your neighborhood soon.  The more you see, the better you will become at knowing what is good and what isn't.  Contemporary art, old school art, realism, expressionism, impressionism, surrealism, the list goes on….just go and look and make up your own mind. Don't be intimidated. So much fun stuff to experience.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It's now a day off from the Gallery, and I am catching up on some important "other" projects that I have going. While going through very old photos and documents, I came across some old letters that I sent to my husband, mother, grandmother, and their return answers from the years soon after our moving to Norway. I sat a while with these old memories, and relished them. They gave me strength during a time in my life that I was unsure of. Had I made a mistake in moving to Bergen? Would I ever master the language and customs? Would I ever be accepted by "real" norwegians? With one foot in Norway and another in the US, I felt privileged, yet, torn.  Here I am 37 years later, reflecting… happy that I didn't give in to insecurity and the uncomfortable feeling of leaving behind everything familiar and loved.  We take giant leaps of faith all the time in our lives, not knowing where we will end up. We make decisions and then anguish about how they will pan out. I felt that I had to follow my heart, and it has been the best gauge of what is right and good. The insecurity turned into security….likewise with the rest of the negatives. Life is good and it is getting better all the time…..just give it….time.